According to The National Transportation Safety Board, driver inexperience, poor driver training, poor driver choices (like speeding) and driver fatigue are major causes of trucking accidents. Unfortunately, when you are sitting behind a truck driver on the highway, you may not always know which drivers are dangerous and which are responsible and safe. If you want avoid truck accidents and the personal injuries they cause, look for these red flag signs of poor driving in trucks:
1) Abusive language. If a truck driver is yelling outside his window at passers-by or other drivers, he or she may be in the throes of road rage or may be simply an aggressive driver. In either case, by focusing on abusive language and not on the road, this type of driver is extremely dangerous.
2) Extra activity in the cab. Truck drivers who have too many cab passengers or who are eating, texting, talking on the cell phone or doing something else while driving do not have their full attention on the road. This means that they may not have time to react to avoid an accident. It may also mean that they are not aware of everyone and every car around them.
3) Reckless driving. If you see someone in a truck driving recklessly, the driver may have poor driving skills, may be too angry or emotional to drive, or may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In either event, the driver is not safe.
4) Mistakes made. If a truck driver is making mistakes on the road – such as driving on the wrong side of the road or not signalling passes – he or she may be driving under the influence or may be so fatigued that he or she is making careless mistakes. The driver may also be too inexperienced or too under-trained to drive well. Unfortunately, one mistake is all it takes to cause a serious accident.
5) The truck shudders or lists to one side unnaturally. If a truck seems to be tilting, shuddering, or otherwise proceeding strangely, it may be overburdened or may not have its load correctly secured. If the truck’s load comes loose, it can crash into cars and cause serious injury. A truck that is over its weight limit can also rollover or cause a serious accident.
If you see a truck driving unsafely, trust your instincts. Pull over, give the truck extra room, fall back, and generally get out of the way. If you believe that a truck driver may be driving unsafely to the extent that he or she is a danger or if you believe that a truck driving is driving under the influence, call local authorities to report the problem.